Cardinal Krajewski on mission in Ukraine Cardinal Krajewski on mission in Ukraine 

Cardinal Krajewski under fire near Ukraine's frontlines: ‘Jesus, I trust in you’

Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Service of Charity, gets shot at as he delivers humanitarian aid in Pope Francis’ name near the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, emerging unscathed and continuing his mission.

By Gabriella Ceraso & Devin Watkins

Cardinal Konrad Krajewski is currently in Ukraine for the fourth time since Russia’s invasion on 24 February.

He is there to deliver humanitarian aid, rosaries, and spiritual closeness in the name of Pope Francis, who sent the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Service of Charity.

The Polish-born Cardinal traveled first to Odessa, then to Zaporizhzhia, where he presently finds himself. His mission should take him next to Kharkiv.

A special day

Cardinal Krajewski spoke to Vatican News by telephone on Saturday, explaining why he thinks it marks a noteworthy day in his life.

“Today is a special day,” he says, “because it has been nine years since the Holy Father chose me as the Papal Almoner and on this day I was ordained a Bishop.”

The Cardinal received his episcopal ordination on 17 September 2013 in St. Peter’s Basilica during a ceremony in the presence of Pope Francis.

On this anniversary, Cardinal Krajewski found himself near the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, along with a Catholic Bishop, a Protestant Bishop, and a Ukrainian soldier.

With their help, he loaded up his minibus with provisions and drove to the frontlines of the war, an area he says “no one besides soldiers enter anymore” due to the heavy firing.

He went precisely to help people stuck in this no-man’s-land with a friendly hand, foodstuffs, and other aid supplies.

The Cardinal and his companions
The Cardinal and his companions

In the crosshairs

As he finished unloaded supplies for some local people, Cardinal Krajewski and his charitable entourage came under light arms fire.

Together with his companions, the Cardinal sought cover. “For the first time in my life,” he told Vatican News after the event, “I didn’t know where to run… because it’s not enough to run. You have to know where to go.”

The Papal Almoner in Ukraine
The Papal Almoner in Ukraine

Delivering Pope’s closeness and aid

Cardinal Krajewski and those with him escaped the incident unscathed, and continued to deliver the aid loaded in the minibus.

He even handed out all the Rosaries he had that were blessed by the Pope, as those who received them put them around their necks.

Saturday, therefore, was a special anniversary of the Cardinal’s episcopal consecration, he surmised.

It was a day he described as “without mercy”, for which—as he said during his last mission on the Easter Triduum—“there are neither tears nor words.”

After this most recent incident, Cardinal Krajewski reiterated his belief that “we can only pray and repeat: ‘Jesus, I trust in you.’”

Cardinal Krajewski with a Ukrainian family
Cardinal Krajewski with a Ukrainian family
17 September 2022, 18:54